Wings over the Rockies Festival planner Elizabeth Shopland was thrilled when she received word that a special film documentary that continues to sweep the nation would be part of the upcoming event May 6 to 12. 

In November of 2023, the Whistler Film Festival announced the world premiere of Paramount+ Original Documentary ‘500 Days in the Wild’.

“We are so fortunate to have this come to our community. Many thanks to the good folks of the Invermere Film Festival organization who helped Wings to bring this extraordinary documentary to the festival,” Shopland said.

This film will be shown on Thursday, May 9 at Columbia Valley Centre in Invermere.

Dianne Whelan is no stranger to shooting indie films in extreme locations. She’s filmed on Mt. Everest for ’40 Days at Basecamp’ and on the most northern coastline of Canada for ‘This Land,’ so travelling the longest trail in the world while simultaneously shooting a film about the experience didn’t seem too far-fetched. And then her estimate of 500 days on the trail became six years.

In August of 2021, Whelan became the first person to travel the land and water trails of the 17,000 miles or 27,400 kilometres of the Trans Canada Trail—the world’s longest trail.

The trail stretches across the continent of North America, connecting the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific oceans. 

Whelan travelled the entirety of the land/water trail, the only person to ever accomplish this journey. She pushed 150 pounds of her heavily laden bike over rocks, hiked through flooded bogs, paddled 2,500 miles on the Mackenzie River to the Arctic ocean, snowshoed through dense forests, skied across wind-blown plains, cycled along pristine trails in all seasons. 

For a woman in her 50s who is not an extreme athlete, it was sometimes gruelling, occasionally harrowing, often exhilarating and always surprising. And there were many good belly laughs about the absurdity of the situations she occasionally found herself in.

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